A 7-year-old Mullica Hill resident became an official member of the Drexel University Dragons men’s soccer team on Thursday, Oct. 10 as part of a program to connect children facing serious or chronic illnesses with college athletic teams.
Logan Williams, who is battling a gastrointestinal disorder, was recruited during a special Draft Day celebration at the Kopp Lounge at the Vidas Athletic Complex on the university’s campus with his parents, Erica and Seth.
Logan began to have gastrointestinal challenges about two years ago, leading to recurrent acute pancreatitis.
“As Logan goes through his journey, to have bonds with a bunch of folks in his personal life at home, friends at school, but now a new bond with the team here at Drexel, it widens the net of support,” said Seth.
During the event, Logan signed a National Letter of Intent and heard special remarks by head coach Doug Hess.
Logan, who enjoys playing as a forward and also in goal, was with the team for their Colonial Athletic Association matchup against Hofstra University on Saturday afternoon, Oct. 12. The game ended with a 1-1 draw.
As an official member of the Dragons, Logan will attend practices, games, team dinners and events just like any other team member.
He named graduate student defender Griffin Mallas as his favorite player, and spent most of Thursday’s training time passing with sophomore Michael McCarthy before being invited by Hess to lead the team’s huddle, according to the university’s website.
Logan came to Drexel University through Team IMPACT, a Boston-based nonprofit that connects children facing serious or chronic illnesses with college athletic teams. He is one of 1,900 children from 600 colleges and universities in 48 states to partner with Team Impact since its inception in 2011.
The initiative not only bridges Logan with a support team, but it allows Drexel’s student-athletes to experience a perspective they can’t learn in a classroom.
“It’s part of the process of becoming an adult and understanding that there’s more to life than your own circumstances,” said Hess. “The chance to involve kids who might not have had an opportunity to compete with a team themselves or whatever it may be, to give them that environment and that boost.”
At more than 600 colleges and universities across 48 states, the recruited child joins the athletic team and the student-athletes join the child’s support team. Throughout the journey, the child gains strength, camaraderie and support while the student-athletes experience lessons of courage, resiliency and perspective.
Team IMPACT has more than 1,200 teams waiting to be matched with children, ages 5 to 16, who have been diagnosed with a serious or chronic illness and who could benefit from becoming a member of the team, according to the organization. If you know a child who may be interested, visit www.goteamimpact.org for more information.